Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Puttanesca (1)

Pasta Puttanesca. Pasta for ladies of easy virtue?

All you need: Olive oil (extra virgin), capers, olives, garlic and tomato. Another version of this also includes anchovies. Generally, black olives are used. I prefer green olives. Adding in a little basil or parsley does no harm.

Puttanesca (2)

Dice everything up and thoroughly heat through in a pan with a good slug of virgin olive oil.

Puttanesca (3)

When finished toss into pasta. This version uses diced smokey bacon (even better with prosciutto).

Puttanesca (4)

How stupid simple is this? Fast, fresh and simple. Truly fantastic. Really fresh and really tasty and so versatile! For those who need something quick and easy to throw together on the hoof, on a busy work day, then this is a must have in the repertoire. It isn’t just good for pasta. How about using it to liven up a piece of fish.

Puttanesca (5)

Maybe add in some smoked salmon.

Puttanesca (6)

As an accompaniment to a piece of gammon maybe (this is really good).

Puttanesca (7)

Or how about with prawns and garlic bread.

Puttanesca (8)

Is there anything this can’t be used with? This sauce is so good and so clever it’s amazing. Seriously amazing.

Puttanesca Sauce
I first came across this brilliant little sauce many years ago in Claudia Rodens book on Mediterranean cookery where she says the source of the name is a mystery. More recently I saw this on Nigella Lawson’s website and featured in one of Rick Steins’ DVD’s. You will see it in many books on Italian food, although rarely labeled ‘Puttanesca’. Usually this is labeled as olive and caper sauce. The Italian word “puttana” literally translates to “whore” or “prostitute”. So literally, “pasta of the whores”. The idea being, according to some, that this is something quick and simple for “the generous ladies of Naples” to make on a busy work day between clients! Personally, I see this usage as a little bit of mischief. No doubt, for some, the name makes for fun dinner party conversation after a few glasses of wine! Another way to look at this name is simply as a graphic way to imply something cheap and easy. A sure thing. “even a Naples prostitute can make this!” (with due apologies and respect to the good ladies of Naples!).

In summary this great little sauce is cheap, easy and will pretty much go with anything.

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